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Argentina - A Destination for Investment?
A series of new government initiatives aim to make the country healthier and more open to foreign investors
Thanks to a new president and new policies, Argentina is becoming more attractive to foreign investors. For years, restrictive capital and currency controls limited foreign investment in Argentina. With the election of president Mauricio Macri in late 2015, however, the country is experiencing a renaissance. A series of government initiatives aims to make the country healthier and more open to foreign investors - and M&A deal trends are slowly beginning to respond. However, the opportunity to enter the market is still fresh, and we expect to see even greater interest emerge as the new administration implements its agenda.
In an effort to help restore Argentina’s economy, Macri has resolved past debts and plans to invest heavily in rebuilding infrastructure, announcing more than US$12.5 billion in planned investments in housing, telecom networks and education over the next several years1. He has also bolstered the economy through a tax amnesty program that brought in nearly $10 billion in additional tax revenues and nearly doubled the recurring base of taxable assets2. As part of a concerted effort to win foreign investment, Macri has eliminated the controls3 that once impeded foreign investors from converting their money to other currencies or moving their money out of the country. Anti-corruption legislation is also winding its way through negotiations, in the hopes of improving the business environment.
Since these changes have been implemented, many macro-economic measures are beginning to improve. Better credit ratings for both the country itself and companies in Argentina have lowered the cost of debt, while economic activity picked up enough in the second half of the year to pull the country out of a prolonged recession4. Combined, these changes lower the barriers to foreign investment, and increase the attractiveness of opportunities within the country for many internal and external investors.
In this article, we look at how a new influx of foreign investors has helped accelerate Argentina’s deal flow to date and how an even greater wave of interest is likely to develop in the years to come. As the economy improves, we expect the rising tide to buoy all sectors, with all types of companies benefiting from stronger fundamentals. We also explore the three key industries – energy and natural resources, infrastructure, and agribusiness — that are likely to offer the most compelling near-term opportunities, given their direct alignment to top government policy and investment priorities.